It’s always an honor to be recognized for the work you do, especially when you are recognized by an organization that does such great work themselves. This year, Refugee Services of Texas (RST) was nominated for the Excellence in Impact Award by Mission Capital (formerly Greenlights), an Austin-based collaborative powerhouse. Mission Capital acts as a resource, forum space, and toolkit for Central Texas nonprofits. Each year, Mission Capital recognizes Austin nonprofits and individuals who strive to maintain and grow the good in our communities. We are one of three nominees for this award and we are in honorable company. Nominated with us is Breakthrough Austin and Foundation Communities for the category. The winner of the “Excellence in Impact” award will be announced at the Party For Good on November 17th at the Hyatt Regency in Austin.
The Excellence in Impact nominees demonstrate high quality performance and results-oriented, measurable social change. We’ve worked hard to meet this criteria. RST has strived for years to provide holistic services for our clients which include refugees, asylees, parolees and related vulnerable populations, but our mission is to transcend the average. Our goals are to help our clients thrive in their new lives and to further Austin’s reputation as a welcoming, tolerant, and diverse community. This requires high standards of care, creativity in purposeful programming, and complex agency coordination across the State of Texas. RST provides housing, orientation, ESL instruction, job readiness training and placement, case management, cash assistance, medical case management, therapy and mental wellness, youth services, and legal aid with immigration and citizenship. We also have a special program for survivors of human trafficking that provides case management, therapy, and community support for victims of labor and sex trafficking right here in Austin. Last year alone, our office successfully welcomed 507 newly-arrived refugees and helped hundreds of other clients get back on their feet.
This nomination goes beyond our programming, however, and is truly due to the inspiring effort from so many people involved with our organization. Each step along the way is enriched by the tireless efforts of our staff, dedicated volunteers, and determined clients. RST works with partner agencies, community organizations, businesses and faith groups to foster a backbone of support and resources for our clients when they arrive and as needed. The Hyatt Hotel and a network of Episcopal churches have been especially contributory here in Austin. RST began the year with seven Welcome Teams, or small groups of volunteers that commit to sponsoring and aiding a single refugee family for three months. That number is now at 10, and is expected to rise to 14 by the end of the year. And the impact comes full-circle. Many volunteers attest to how much their perspectives have changed when they saw a refugee child’s expression as they came down the airport escalator into the U.S. for the first time. The more members of our community that have a chance to witness first-hand the challenges refugees face and the dedication they demonstrate in overcoming them, the more informed and welcoming our community will become. As we witness thousands of faces of displaced families, women and children flashing on TV and across the front page of every newspaper each day, we could not be prouder of our mission and the impact we strive to achieve.
Thank you to our staff, volunteers, and clients for your Excellence in Impact with Refugee Services of Texas.